AS part of our weekly Crime Files series, we are taking a look back at the archives to bring you stories from Herefordshire's history.

The following story dates from 1894.

A TEENAGER was taken into custody after a six-year-old set fire to a farmyard in a Herefordshire village in 1894.

A serious fire broke out in the rickyard at Court House Farm in Eardisland in September 1894.

The fire had been spotted by the farmer's wife, Mrs Hope, who had been feeding the fowls when she realised straw was ablaze and tried to pull it away from the rest of their stores.

But, it was reported, the flames had such a firm hold that four ricks were up in flames in minutes.

Villagers who had seen the columns of dense smoke rising from the yard rushed to the farm with buckets to help put out the blaze, with a cordon forming between the moat and the fire, while Leominster fire brigade was also sent for.

The firefighters arrived just after 5pm, an hour and a half after the flames had first been spotted, working to put out the blaze before it spread to farm buildings.


Several ricks were burned to the ground, but around 12 tons of hay and four of clover were saved.

Investigation revealed that a six-year-old boy, James Williams, had set the fire.

But, he told the local constable, he had been given the match by another lad, 13-year-old Fred Jones.

Jones was taken into custody, it was reported.